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Ecumenical gathering recalls modern Christian martyrs


Rev. Jeffrey Brown of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury; Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios; Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley; Coptic Orthodox bishop of New York and New England Bishop David; and Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches lead the Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Martyrs Jan. 25 at Mission Church. The candles on the altar represent Christians martyred for their faith in modern times. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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BOSTON -- At an ecumenical service honoring Christian martyrs, Jan. 25, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley described martyrs not as figures cast in marble but as human beings of flesh and bone -- in some cases people he knew.

Observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Christians of various traditions and denominations from all over Boston and New England gathered at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, swelling the crowd to over 500 gathered in prayer.

Vito Nicastro, associate director of the archdiocese's Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, which worked with the local Community of Sant'Egidio to organize the event, called the ecumenical gathering the largest of its kind in his 23 years with the office.

The service was attended by representatives of dozens of Christian communities and groups including Mainline Protestant, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Historically Black and Evangelical churches, as well as numerous Catholic parishes, ethnic communities and rites.

Rev. Jeffrey Brown, a minister of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury; Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches; Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios; and Bishop David, the Coptic Orthodox bishop of New York and New England joined Cardinal O'Malley on the altar during the prayer service.

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